Knight Campus FAQs

A man at the lectern

October 2023

I am thrilled to welcome everyone for the start of the fall term. For me, this is an incredibly energizing time of year with undergraduate students back on campus, a new cohort of grad students taking part in Impact Week, and bustling common spaces, and I’m inspired by our continued growth and evolution. Change is a constant at the Knight Campus. As we reflect on the remarkable accomplishments of the past year, celebrate the start of the academic term, and look forward to the exciting developments that lie ahead, it seems a good time to share a few answers to some of the most frequently asked questions to cross my desk in recent months.


QUESTION: You’ve been at the helm for 5 years now, what inspires you most about the Knight Campus? READ MORE

Q: What have you learned from your listening tour with Knight Campus employees this spring? READ MORE

Q: What has been accomplished at the Knight Campus so far? READ MORE

Q: What new initiatives has the Knight Campus catalyzed? READ MORE

Q: How does the Knight Campus promote the translation of research discoveries into societal impact? READ MORE

Q: What is an example of convergent science in the Knight Campus? READ MORE

Q: Do you have an example of Knight Campus faculty starting companies? READ MORE

Q: How is the Knight Campus training future innovators? READ MORE

Q: What are the goals for Phase 2 of the Knight Campus? READ MORE

Q: When will the Knight Campus Building 2 be completed? READ MORE

Q: What core facilities will be available for UO researchers in the Knight Campus? READ MORE

Q: What academic programs are offered by the Knight Campus? READ MORE

Q: What are the Knight Campus research focus areas? READ MORE

Q: How does the Knight Campus interact with other UO academic units? READ MORE

Q: What are some opportunities to support Knight Campus research, academic programs, or students? READ MORE

Q. Is the Knight Campus Building 1 open to the public? READ MORE



QUESTION: You’ve been at the helm for 5 years now, what inspires you most about the Knight Campus? 
ANSWER: The amazing people we’ve recruited who are making the Knight Campus mission a reality every day.  That includes career teaching faculty, tenure track faculty, support staff, postdocs, students and others. Everybody is working hard to achieve their individual goals but also collaborating as a team. The synergy and progress that results from that committed group effort creates an energy you can literally feel and makes me excited to come to work every day. 

Q: What have you learned from your listening tour with Knight Campus employees this spring? 
A: The goal of the listening tour was to get a sense of the current workplace climate in the Knight Campus and identify challenges or frustrations that people may be experiencing — particularly those that are shared or might be systemic. My overall impression from talking to people is they are very happy to be part of the Knight Campus. They understand they are part of something with big aspirations and individually they feel they are making important contributions to positively impact society through our research innovations, unique academic training, and professional development programs. They also feel appreciated as individuals and as professionals which I was really pleased to hear. Of course, we are still a relatively new organization so there is a certain startup excitement to being here and we realize that as we mature as an organization we need to be continuously focused on progress and improvement. The discussions revealed some consistent themes and suggestions that will be addressed as we conduct action planning this fall. 

Q: What has been accomplished at the Knight Campus so far? 
A: Our list of accomplishments since opening our doors to Building 1 in September 2020 is long, but some of the highlights include launching the first-ever engineering department at the UO, the Department of Bioengineering, and continuing to grow the nationally recognized Knight Campus Graduate Internship Program. We’ve hired exceptional new faculty — including our inaugural  Bioengineering Department Chair Danielle Benoit — expanded our student population and grown our staff. Our Knight Campus community has reached roughly 300 people strong, bringing the Knight Campus Building 1 to approximately 90% capacity, making it a good time for us to be constructing a second building. We’ve forged new relationships and deepened existing partnerships academically and in research across the UO, regionally in the state, nationally, and  internationally. Examples of these relationships include but are not limited to our joint Bioengineering PhD program with Oregon State University, a post doc training program we co-support with PeaceHealth, the Wu Tsai Human Performance Alliance collaboration with prestigious universities across the country (more below) as well as international partners such as Loughborough University in the UK, and the annual  Oregon Bioengineering Symposium we created with Oregon State and Oregon Health & Science University, which we are hosting this year at the Knight Campus on Nov. 3.

Q: What new initiatives has the Knight Campus catalyzed? 
A: Let me give you a few examples in detail:

  • We have forged new biomedical research collaborations and created opportunities for postdoctoral training through the Center for Translational Biomedical Research with our partners at PeaceHealth, bringing exceptional early career researchers to Knight Campus affiliated labs who get mentoring and support from clinicians in the PeaceHealth and local medical communities.
  • We are accelerating high-impact advances in human performance. Through the generous support of the Joe and Clara Tsai Foundation, we are able to fund more than a dozen research projects through the Wu Tsai Human Performance Alliance across the UO campus, and collaborations extend to our five partner institutions across the country: Stanford University, UCSD, Boston Children’s Hospital, the Salk Institute and University of Kansas.
  • The Papé Family Innovation Center is making it easier and faster to translate academic research into patents, inventions, startup companies, and collaborations with industry. The center provides access to wet labs, tools and expertise through a leasing mechanism and active programming to support early-stage entrepreneurs and encourage industry engagement. And thanks to new venture funding through the UO’s Launch Oregon initiative, we’re putting together all the necessary pieces for a thriving innovation ecosystem.

Q: How does the Knight Campus promote the translation of research discoveries into societal impact? 
A: Collaboration is key to our effectiveness in catalyzing convergent scientific research. What is convergent science? It is an approach that recognizes solving tough problems requires combining different skills and technologies to enable transformative impact. It’s a simple concept but one not easy to implement effectively. The initial focus of the Knight Campus is on the convergence of biosciences, bioengineering, and data science to impact human health, but you can imagine this same playbook being applied to other grand challenge areas in the future. exciting advancements that can happen through the convergence of people, technology and science from different areas.

Q: What is an example of convergent science in the Knight Campus? 
A: One example is 3D printed orthopaedic implants. 3D printing was initially only used for prototyping design concepts but constant technological advancements have enabled it to now be used to make functional production parts for medical and many other applications. One example of collaborative work from my lab involves designing a novel 3D-printed architecture that accelerates bone ingrowth into orthopaedic implants. This involved combining expertise in imaging, biomechanics, materials science, orthopaedic surgery, and eventually, artificial intelligence. Our initial research goal was to develop and test a novel scaffold architecture that provided an optimal combination of strength and a porous structure that bone loves to grow into. Other examples of people, technology and science converging include Knight Campus faculty developing different innovative medical devices.  Prof Felix Deku, for example, is using microfabrication in our research clean room to create next generation neural interface devices for treating patients with degenerative brain diseases. And Keat Ghee Ong has created a UO startup company called Penderia Technologies with two of his post-doctoral fellows to commercialize implantable sensors to monitor and optimize the rehabilitation of patients following orthopaedic procedures like ACL surgery. He and his team have received Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) funding from the U.S. government and plan to submit their suture button product for approval by the Food and Drug Administration this year.

Q: Do you have an example of Knight Campus faculty starting companies? 
A: In addition to Penderia, I’d mention Restor3D, a company we launched to create personalized 3D printed implants for patients after several years of research and multiple publications. 3D printing is the future of medical device manufacturing because you can cost-effectively produce highly complex implants that perfectly match the patients’ anatomy and the design innovation time has been reduced from the historical average of 7 years down to a matter of a few weeks. In the case of one patient — a man who was successfully treated for a large bone tumor but was left with a massive hole in his leg — bioengineers converted CT images from doctors into 3D images used to generate 3D computer models. They developed a surgical reconstruction plan and a customized implant and reconstructed his leg. Six months post-op, the patient is getting around quite well with a functioning leg and ankle and a dramatic improvement in his quality of life. Restor3D is growing rapidly with over $20M in revenue projected in 2023 and importantly the University of Oregon owns equity in the company and that will someday return resources to help fund future startups at the UO.

Q: How is the Knight Campus training future innovators? 
A: Starting from the moment they arrive on campus, our early-career trainees begin an intensive, five-day series of workshops and applied sessions known as Impact Week. During this week and throughout their time at the Knight Campus, our students receive comprehensive, hands-on professional development training and unprecedented access to opportunities and innovators with real world relevance. Going back to the Restor3D example, two of the Ph.D. students involved in the original research have since graduated and are serving as the chief technology officer and chief operating officer. The strategy of training our Ph.D. students to have business skills is something we have embraced in the Knight Campus by partnering with the UO Lundquist College of Business, and together we have developed a required course on innovation and entrepreneurship. There are other opportunities to engage in innovation and entrepreneurship, including through our Entrepreneurship Speaker Series and with our Papé Family Innovation Center tenants who are eager to hire local talent. Additionally, Building 2 will feature plenty of maker’s spaces for students to learn, prototype and test their inventions.

Q: What are the goals for Phase 2 of the Knight Campus? 
A: Phase 2 is well underway thanks to the incredible second $500M gift from Penny and Phil Knight.  When completed it will give us two times the capacity with over 350,000 square feet for research and development of new biomedical technologies as well as our growing academic programs. The construction of Building 2 is essential to our growth and evolution, but buildings don’t do research or train students, people do, and as our friend and benefactor Dave Petrone likes to say “it’s really about the people.” Phase 2 enables us to create a critical mass of scientists and innovators, research facilities, and educational spaces to achieve the Knight Campus’ ambitious goals. Building 2 emphasizes engineering research and training. It is expected to house approximately 20 research groups focused on bioengineering and biomedical computational science and it will enable us to scale up everything we are doing, including training students to enter the workforce and contribute to innovations that we can’t even imagine today.

Q: When will the Knight Campus Building 2 be completed? 
A: It’s scheduled to open in winter 2026. Building 2 will put the “Campus” in Knight Campus, creating the space for engineering with an emphasis on meeting the dynamic needs of engineering students, as well as faculty, research staff, entrepreneurs, and other users of the space

Q: What core facilities will be available for UO researchers in the Knight Campus? 
A: In addition to the cutting-edge core research facilities in Building 1 —  including a publicly available research clean room, equipment for 3D printing, rapid x-ray imaging and rapid fabrication of prototypes — the Knight Campus will offer a uniquely integrated Biofabrication and Bioanalysis Core Facility to be housed in Building 2. It will allow researchers to use high-throughput technology to understand and then develop synthetic cells, tissues, and organs. It enables the development of new personalized medical tools that could be used to monitor health, regenerate new tissue, and treat cancer and other ailments. This core will include the latest state-of-the-art equipment made possible with $10M from the state of Oregon. It will be available to anyone at the UO of course but also colleagues at OSU and OHSU as well as industry partners. We have also reserved additional space in the building for new core facilities we haven’t yet imagined, to give us the ability to grow and support our researchers as the science unfolds. These new capabilities will enhance our research efforts and ability to attract more amazingly talented students and faculty, creating the flywheel effect of momentum that is needed to accelerate our programs and impact. 

Q: What academic programs are offered by the Knight Campus? 
A: The Knight Campus houses UO’s first-ever engineering department, the Department of Bioengineering. It offers a joint Ph.D. program with Oregon State University (launched fall 2020) and an undergraduate minor (launched fall 2021). The Knight Campus Graduate Internship Program is a nationally recognized, applied master’s program with five different program tracks that have a focus on industry-relevant technical and professional skills. Program tracks span the fields of engineering, physics, chemistry, and biology, and a sixth track in Data Science will be launching soon. Knight Campus Undergraduate Scholars program pairs promising undergraduates in their second or third year with research mentors and immerses them in a 12-month comprehensive research experience in Knight Campus-affiliated labs.

Q: What are the Knight Campus research focus areas? 
A: The Department of Bioengineering is currently composed of 12 independent faculty-led labs with research programs in biomaterials, medical sensors and devices, protein engineering and synthetic biology, neural engineering, biomedical artificial intelligence, regenerative rehabilitation and human performance, and other areas.

Q: How does the Knight Campus interact with other UO academic units? 
A: It’s been amazing to see mutually beneficial partnerships emerge between the Knight Campus and exciting UO academic units and centers of excellence.  Some great examples are rapidly expanding innovation programs in partnership with the Lundquist College of Business, science communication training opportunities for our students and faculty in partnership with the School of Journalism and Communication, and numerous research collaborations with faculty in various College of Arts and Sciences units.  All Knight Campus faculty also have formal affiliations with main campus science departments, institutes and centers including but not limited to Human Physiology, Physics, Institute of Molecular Biology, Materials Science Institute, and Institute of Neuroscience.  Likewise, faculty in other departments at UO can request Knight Campus affiliate appointments.

Q: What are some opportunities to support Knight Campus research, academic programs, or students? 
A: Phil and Penny Knight’s partnership has allowed us to aggressively build an incredible scaffold, onto which we are layering academic, research, and innovation programming that delivers real scientific impact on society. Philanthropic support at all levels can fuel this mission, providing scholarship support to ensure a talented and diverse student population, funding resources to accelerate research targeting particular health challenges like cancer or Parkinson’s Disease, and partnering to build out the cutting-edge spaces and technologies that enable our best work. Indeed, we have been fortunate to receive so many thoughtful and generous contributions over the course of our short history, and our community of donors now numbers over 120 and growing. If you would like to join our community, I encourage you to reach out to our chief development officer, Callie Johnston, at or give here.

Q. Is the Knight Campus Building 1 open to the public? 
A: Yes!  It is not just open but we encourage people to visit and make use of the facilities. Three of our five floors have significant space available to the public, including our lovely covered terrace on the second floor,  during regular business hours Monday – Friday 7am to 5pm.  And yes, the bridge is available to the public to cross Franklin Boulevard during those same hours. The Knight Campus space is intentionally designed to foster collisions of people and ideas and that is often how new ideas take root and grow into new opportunities and innovations.